Whether you broke up with him or he dumped you and now you’re devastated and can’t get off of the SMIS (Social Media Intensive Stalking) crack, the time period right after a breakup is the worst.
Besides the unrelenting pain after a breakup, you’re also dealing with this blurry, blank space in front of you which not too long ago was the future, your future, a HAPPY future with him. Your happily ever after is gone, he’s already being tagged in all of *her* photos, he unfollowed you on social media and whether you want him back or not – at this point, you just want to stop feeling so sh*tty. Your heart literally hurts. You wake up from an awful nights sleep and feel like you’re choking. You can’t shake the pit in your stomach and the anxiety. It sucks.
ARE there ways to minimize your pain after a breakup? Absolutely. The thing is, when I look back, I realize that I was actually more comfortable in being in the pain, agony, delusion and obsession than I was in making any kind of commitment to or steps toward putting one foot in front of the other and feeling better even though it felt like I was trying my absolute hardest.
I was in such a state of denial that deep down, I believed that if I felt “happy,” that would mean that the relationship was really over.
In all honesty, the one last, little connection that I had to my ex was the pain, the stalking, the analyzing, the detective playing while doubting/blaming myself and the rehashing of everything to anyone that was willing to listen. I did all of that in the relationship (due to his emotional unavailability and my lack of boundaries, I never truly felt at ease), and now that the relationship was over, I was taking all of the insanity to the maximum degree.
I wasn’t talking to my ex but I missed him and sue me if I wanted to see what (and who) he was doing and my only way of doing so was to go on the tagged photos of the second cousin of the best friend of his new girlfriend’s Instagram. So what if I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of seeing that I opened his snapchat story, so I took a screenshot and zoomed in on that little preview image to see if any of the pixels added up to a female body or face. SO WHAT?
No matter how poorly I was treated, I still needed to know that I meant something to my ex and if he wasn’t going to give me the validation that he was in pain that he realized how much he hurt me and that he missed me too, I was going to go on an “FBI-style-happy-to-throw-any-remaining-dignity-out-the-motherf*cking-window” search to find it.
Guess what? I never found it. Shocker, I know.
I was the one that was being unreasonable because I was expecting this guy to suddenly have the capacity and ability to empathize, value and miss me after of our relationship in spite of the fact that he was consistently incapable of valuing, empathizing, loving and respecting me while in the relationship.
Yeah, there were fleeting moments where he was great, but overall, he was someone that was consistent at being hurtful and instead of getting behind myself and realizing that I deserved better, I made it my life’s mission to try to get the cat to bark. I’ve said this before – Cats meow. Why was I putting my life on hold and crying over the fact that I couldn’t make a cat meow? Why was I so surprised? Why was I so offended and hurt that the cat meowed after all of my efforts to try to be the one girl who could encourage it to bark? And most importantly, why was I tying my worth to a cat meowing? Why was I taking a cat meowing as a personal insult? WHY WAS I TRYING TO BE THE CAT WHISPERER; THE CESAR MILAN OF CATS? The cat wasn’t misbehaving, it was doing what it does, Cats meow.
Instead of addressing those questions (which would have required turning inward and facing my lack of self esteem head on), I focused on my ex. I took everything personally, I cried, I stalked and I never conquered my old relationship or myself.
So now I had no one to text, no one to impress, no one to validate me and no one to love me (not even me).
It took a
few days, weeks months for me to finally realize that it was over and to stop trying to be some sort of f*cked up exorcist and resurrect my relationship (that rarely made me feel wanted, cared for, valued, loved, appreciated and respected) from the dead. I was so determined to avoid at least trying to feel better, it got to a point where life had to step in and remind me. My health declined, I started getting severe TMJ, I couldn’t keep up with work commitments, school, etc. because I couldn’t keep up with my thoughts and with the pain that I was happily giving myself hourly enemas of.
So, is there a way to minimize the pain after a breakup and if so, how do you do it?
From the moment after a breakup to the hours, days, weeks and months following – you do have control over how much pain you experience.
Remember – you are the writer of your own internal dialogue. Stop letting other people take your pen away to write your story and crying over the sh*tty chapter that they wrote. It’s your story. Hold on to your own damn pen.
I used to think that minimizing the pain after a breakup meant that I had to try to “make sense” out of the breakup by obsessing over what my ex was doing and subsequently avoiding my own feelings, needs and problems. I also thought that minimizing the pain after a breakup meant still trying to be friends with my ex, hookup, answering his drunk texts, be there for him, etc.
None of that will ever work because it’s essentially putting a bandage on cancer.
Here’s how to minimize the pain after a breakup for real:
- Keep your head, your thoughts, your opinions and feelings based in reality. Strip the excuses away from what happened and what was said. Own your own actions and understand that what your ex did was a reflection of his reality and his own personal feelings of insufficiency, not yours.
- Understand that the only way that the relationship would ever work between you two is if it is on his terms and if you accepted his behavior, emotional unavailability and perpetual inconsistency.
- Even if it hurts to do so (it totally does but you can do it), subscribe to the truth and validate yourself by recognizing and acknowledging the reasons why the relationship is over and use that knowingness to inspire you to want to move beyond the heartbreak. To get past addiction, you first have to want to be clean.
- Stop unconsciously thriving off of chaos, pain & drama. The more that you let your life, your thoughts, your actions (and their consequences) spiral out of control. the more you’ll have to deal with, the more you’ll feel like sh*t (about yourself and just in general), and the more you’ll just straight-up AVOID dealing with your pain in a healthy and proactive way.
- Take back your ex’s all-access, VIP, any time, any where pass. The less access that you give you give your ex, the less pain you will incur. Yeah, it might feel good for a hot minute to keep him as a friend on social media just so he can see how hot you look, text him back, call him, sleep with him, get drunk and knock on his door, talk to his best friends about how “happy” you are or how much pain you’re in, etc., but IT WILL ALL only lead to more heartbreak, pain, embarrassment and that little teensy feeling of happiness that you got from it just isn’t worth the aftermath.
- Remind yourself that no one is THAT rare and THAT “otherworldly” that loving them means feeling badly about, disrespecting, second guessing and humiliating yourself.
- Deal with old pain that has compounded so that the new pain doesn’t seem so unbearable and all-consuming.
- As much as you want to lie in a puddle of your own sh*t and never shave your legs again, you need to get off the couch, off Netflix, off your phone and start to nurture, care for and support the ONLY person whose validation and love you’ll never be able to live without: YOU.
- The happier you are with yourself and with other areas of your life, the less pain you will feel after a breakup. Strive to forgive yourself and others, set healthy boundaries and make a commitment to loving yourself and doing things that make you happy. I’ve created some of my best work in pain. Use your pain to further your own personal success.
While you can’t control what and who your ex is doing and how he’s feeling, you CAN control your thoughts, your actions and how much more pain your feel on top of the pain after a breakup.
You do have the power to care for your hand that was severely burned instead of putting that hand back in the fire and crying because your hand is now irreparably scarred and even more burned.
That emotional jail cell you’ve been locked in is not iron-clad. It’s composed of nothing more than fear and the keys have been in your back pocket all along. xo